Terrorism is largest threat to peace in S. Asia: Sushma

Pakistan blames India for ‘blocking regional integration’
Terrorism remains the single largest threat to peace and stability in South Asia, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told an informal meeting of her counterparts from the region on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Ms. Swaraj left the meeting after her remarks, before Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s speech. Mr. Qureshi later told reporters, “may be, she was not feeling well,” while an Indian diplomat said she had other engagements and it was not unusual for dignitaries to leave meetings midway. While Ms. Swaraj’s remarks that terrorism was holding up the prospects of South Asian cooperation was pointed at Pakistan, Mr. Qureshi blamed India for blocking regional integration. “It is necessary that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support,” said Ms. Swaraj. “She talked about regional cooperation. My question is how will regional cooperation be possible when the region’s nations are ready to sit together and you are the obstacle in that dialogue and discussion,” Mr. Qureshi said. He said he had heard Ms. Swaraj “very carefully”.
Meeting called off
A bilateral meeting between Mr. Qureshi and Ms. Swaraj on the sidelines of the UNGA was announced, but India later called it off. “An environment of peace and security is essential for regional cooperation to progress and achieve economic development and prosperity of our people. The number of threats and incidents that endanger South Asia are on the rise,” Ms. Swaraj told the meeting, chaired by Foreign Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali.
“No, I didn’t have any talk with her (Swaraj). On the positive gesture, I can say she left the meeting midway, may be she was not feeling well,” Mr. Qureshi told reporters.
“What is the way to move forward. We have to decide the next step — I have no hesitation in saying that in the way of SAARC’s progress and success and in the region’s connectivity and prosperity, there is only one obstacle… The attitude of one nation is making the spirit of SAARC and the spirit of the founding fathers of SAARC unfulfilled and unsuccessful,” Mr. Qureshi said.
Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/terrorism-is-largest-threat-to-peace-in-s-asia-sushma/article25076039.ece

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